Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthOctober 18, 1897
Place of BirthWinona, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinWilliam Tew, father, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingLabourer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number2378549
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedConscripted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentDecember 12, 1917
Age at Enlistment20
Theatre of ServiceGreat Britain
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 6, 1978
Age at Death81
Buried AtBrookside Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Tew, Gordon Melvin

Gordon Melvin Tew was born on 18 October 1897 in Winona, Ontario. His father William Tew was from Bambury/Hempton, Oxfordshire in England and had immigrated to Canada aboard the Parisian in 1889. His mother Ida Sturch was from North Grimsby, Ontario. The couple married on 23 December 1893 in Hamilton. Settling in Winona, William found work with the fruit packer company, ED Smith. Children born to the couple in Winona were Mabel Gertrude (1894), Arthur (1895), and Gordon. In 1899 the family moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario where son Cecil Earl was born in 1904. Over the years the family farmed in nearby Jaffray and Melick (now part of Kenora), operating dairy farms there and in Dryden, a community about 140 kilometres east of Kenora. William showed a strong interest in the development of agriculture and horticulture and for years was a director of the Kenora Agricultural Society. He was also a member of the Jaffray and Melick town council.

Although living in Kenora, Gordon signed his recruitment papers with the 96th Regimental Draft to the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment on 12 December 1917 in Winnipeg. He gave his occupation as labourer and his father William in Kenora as next of kin. Gordon arrived in England aboard the Nellore on 15 August 1918, taken on strength with the 18th Reserve Battalion. With the end of the war he embarked for Canada on the Regina on 20 May 1919 and was discharged from service on 2 June in Port Arthur, Ontario. A notation in Gordon’s service record indicated that he had attempted to enlist in 1916 but was found medically unfit due to defective vision.

Gordon’s brother Arthur enlisted early in the war, going overseas with the Canadian Field Artillery. However due to illnesses during training in England he returned to Canada in January of 1916 and was later discharged as medically unfit for further service.

Gordon’s parents were living in Dryden by the end of the war, and on 5 January 1920 Gordon married Mary Kathleen Riddell, daughter of James and Catherine (née Neill) Riddell of Dryden. At the time Gordon was working for the Wenderman Pulp Mill. By the 1921 census Gordon was rooming in Winnipeg and working as a contractor while Kathleen was living with her widowed mother and their one year old son Earl in Dryden. A second son, James, was born in 1921. Gordon later worked at the mill in Kenora and it appears that he lived along the Fort Frances highway at one point. He eventually retired to Winnipeg where he died on 6 September 1978. According to his obituary, at the time of his death he was survived by his brother Cecil. Gordon is interred in a military plot in Brookside Cemetery, Winnipeg.

Gordon’s sons served during WW2. According to their obituaries, Earl served with the Canadian Armoured Corps and Lake Superior Regiment from 1940 to 1946 and James served with Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, marrying war bride Irene Fish in England before returning to Canada after the war. Both boys made Dryden their homes where they raised their families. Earl died in 1990 and James in 1996 and are interred in the Dryden Cemetery.

by Judy Stockham

Tew-Gordon-Melvin-3 Tew-Gordon-Melvin-2

obituary: Winnipeg Free Press, 9 September 1978

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